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May. 21, 2019
11:16 am


Sarah Robertson, inspiration for early children’s Poker Runs on Lanier, passes away

By Pamela A. Keene 
The little girl with a brain tumor who at age 9 became the inspiration for the first children’s poker run on Lake Lanier in 2009, passed away earlier this year. Sarah Robertson, daughter of Roy Robertson and Tammy Puckett of Hall County, was 20 when she succumbed to her brain tumor in February. As a youngster, she attended the first Pirates of Lanier Poker Run and spoke at the awards celebration. She also came to several other poker runs. 
“Sarah was our inspiration for that first fund-raiser for children back in 2008,” said Steve Damus, owner of Motorhead automobile repair on Atlanta Highway. “She was so sweet and always thought of other people first.”
It all started with Sarah’s step-father Danny Puckett went to work for Motorhead in 2008. “He told us about Sarah and a group of us decided we wanted to do a fund-raising motorcycle ride that year to raise money for her medical care,” Damus said. “We raised $7,000, half of it for her family and the other half for Scottish Rite Hospital, where she was being treated.” 
After that ride, organizers decided they wanted to continue supporting children and families in need. “We did several other motorcycle events over the coming months and eventually decided to name our group Silent Partners,” Damus said.
In September 2009, members of Silent Partners, including Rea and Debi Williams, Derek Dugan, Brenda Lee, Damus and others, staged the first Pirates of Lanier Castaways Poker Run on the lake.
By 2010, some of the members split to form Lanier Partners of North Georgia Inc. They continued the annual poker run, raising money for Camp Sunshine and Children of Fallen Soldiers. 
Today, the Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run continues to raise money for children’s charities, including Camp Twin Lakes, Camp Sunshine and Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier. 
Sarah’s father said, “The day before she passed away she told us for her 21st birthday (March 3rd) she only wanted stuffed animals so she could go down on her birthday and give them to the children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.” 
“So we are taking all the stuffed animals we received to the hospital on her birthday.” And plans are to continue that effort through a foundation called “Sarah’s Last Wish.” Damus added, “She was just that way, always thinking of other people and what she could do for them. She will certainly be missed.”
The 2019 Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run is scheduled for July 18-20. For more info, visit

Posted online 2/28/19
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